250 Best Beans, Lentils and Tofu Recipes – a cookbook review

I love beans and lentils. Convincing my family to love beans and lentils? That’s another story.

We’ve all heard about the benefits of going “meatless”. From nutrition to money-saving and environmental benefits, the advantages of going “meatless” one night a week benefit everyone.

And, although my husband listens when I extol the virtues of a meat-free night once each week, I know he’s not keen on the idea. And you can probably guess what my kids think about it.

To support my argument in favour of meatless dinners, I need an arsenal of recipes that are delicious, easy and kid-friendly (because “delicious” alone doesn’t cut it for my kids).

And here it is folks, my new recipe arsenal:

250 Best Beans, Lentils & Tofu Recipes - book cover

And here’s what I whipped together one night when I was at a loss for dinner ideas and I had next to no time to cook: Lentils with Spicy Sausage.

250 best beans, lentils & tofu recipes cookbook with measured lentils

Boiling lentils

Fried sausage and onions

Spicy sausage and lentil casserole with spinach salad

My family enjoyed it. There were no complaints only a few complaints from my kids about the lentils (I guess it will take some time for them to get used to the idea of no meat), but they ate the sausage in happy silence.

There are so many other recipes in this cookbook that I can’t wait to try. Check these out:

Easy Chicken Tacos page 104

Kids love this tactile dish, and adults enjoy its Tex-Mex flavors and ease of preparation. The spicing is mild to appeal to young palates, but the heat is easily bumped up with the addition of a jalapeño or chipotle pepper or spicy salsa as a garnish.

Serves 4

Kid-Favorite <<<< This appeals to me!

1 tbsp      vegetable oil     15 mL

8 oz  skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1⁄2-inch (1 cm) cubes     250 g

1⁄2 tsp     chili powder      2 mL

Freshly ground black pepper

1     cup drained canned corn kernels  or thawed corn kernels            250 mL

1     roasted red pepper, finely chopped  1

1     can (14 oz/398 mL) refried beans    1

1 cup shredded Tex-Mex cheese mix or Monterey Jack cheese  250 mL

12    taco shells 12

Salsa

Shredded lettuce

Chopped tomato

Finely chopped red or green onion

Cubed avocado

Sour cream

1.    In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring, until lightly browned and no longer pink inside, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with chili powder, and black pepper to taste. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add corn, red pepper and beans and bring to a boil.

2.    Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Add cheese and stir until melted.

3.         Warm taco shells according to package directions. Fill with bean mixture and garnish with any combination of salsa, lettuce, tomato, onion, avocado and/or sour cream.

Easy Chicken Tacos

Excerpted from 250 Best Beans, Lentils & Tofu Recipes by The Editors of Robert Rose Inc. © 2012 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca All rights reserved: May not be reprinted without publisher permission.

And this one looks pretty yum, too. But I’ll save it for a night when the kids are at their grandparents’ house for dinner:

Caribbean Red Bean, Spinach and Potato Curry page 162

To combine the Caribbean staples of beans, potato and greens is to invite the sunshine of the islands to dinner or lunch. This dish works hot as a vegetarian main course or cold as a salad alongside seafood or fish. Bring on the reggae!

Serves 4 to 6

Vegan Friendly

2 lbs baby new potatoes, halved (or quartered if large)   1 kg

Cold water

1 tsp salt, divided     5 mL

2 tbsp      vegetable oil     30 mL

1     onion, sliced lengthwise      1

1⁄2   hot chile pepper, preferably Scotch bonnet, minced    1⁄2

1 tbsp      minced gingerroot 15 mL

1 tbsp      curry powder, preferably Caribbean-style 15 mL   (see Tip)

1 tsp ground coriander  5 mL

1⁄4 tsp     ground allspice   1 mL

1     can (14 to 19 oz/398 to 540 mL) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed     1

1⁄2 cup     water or vegetable stock      125 mL

2 tbsp      freshly squeezed lemon juice  30 mL

2 cups      shredded fresh spinach  500 mL

1.    In a pot, cover potatoes with cold water. Add 1⁄2 tsp (2 mL) of the salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and boil gently until potatoes are fork-tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well and transfer to a large bowl; set aside.

2.    Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, chile pepper, ginger, curry powder, coriander, allspice and remaining salt; cook, stirring, until onion is softened, about 3 minutes.

3.    Stir in beans until coated with spices. Pour in water and bring to a boil, scraping up bits stuck to pan. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally, until liquid is almost evaporated, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Season to taste with salt. Pour over potatoes in bowl and stir in spinach just until wilted. Serve hot or let cool.

4.   Transfer to stoneware. Stir in peas. Cover and cook on Low for 6 hours or on High for 3 hours. Stir in bell peppers and chipotles. Cover and cook on High for about 20 minutes, until peppers are tender. Garnish with any combination of sour cream, onion and/or cheese.

Tip
There are several varieties of curry powder from the Caribbean that vary in spices from island to island. Any will work nicely in this recipe. If using a stronger, Indian curry powder, reduce the amount to 11⁄2 to 2 tsp (7 to 10 mL) or according to taste.

Caribbean Red Bean Spinach Potato Curry

Excerpted from 250 Best Beans, Lentils & Tofu Recipes by The Editors of Robert Rose Inc. © 2012 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca All rights reserved: May not be reprinted without publisher permission.

I don’t think I need to say that I have added another fantastic cookbook to my library. Much like other cookbooks available from Robert Rose Inc., this one is chock full of helpful information, tips and easy recipes that result in fabulous meals for my family.

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Title: 250 Best Beans, Lentils & Tofu Recipes
Publisher: Robert Rose Inc.
ISBN: 978-0-7788-0416-1

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Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of 250 Best Beans, Lentils & Tofu Recipes for this review. I was not compensated in any other way. The opinions expressed above are my own.

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